Assignment 2: A Tour

So Assignment 2 came out, and finally everyone is on some common ground. We were asked to use the data from QS World Universities Ranking and formulate a question or a story to tell in an infographic piece.

  • Other than the provided piece of data for 2012/2013, the rest of the data was extremely hard to get
  • 2010/2011 data was only available in the supplementary PDF FILE which had to then be manually typed and compiled into another Excel sheet.

After hours of wrestling around with the data (read: Rankings of top 125 universities in 2013 with their rank progress since 2009) in Excel and Tableau Public, I decided to explore the prospect of the fastest rising universities in that 5-year time frame. One could even say I am taking the sociological approach by supporting the underdogs, but hey, whatever works right?

Initial intended layout

This was my intended layout at first because the graph rendered by tableau was of a very low resolution, so I had to limit its size across the page which created a large unused white space. I filled it with a grey box for future purposes.


Draft 1

This is draft one. Firstly, the topmost graph was an epic fail. I did not know how to combine the years together because learning tableau is a b*tch. However, making do with whatever I have, I made each column separate so that I could compare it with the chart below. However, this relationship was not exactly evident/visible.

It shows the 9/125 universities which have had large increases in rank from 2009 to 2013. I then isolated them and used colour intensity to label the net amount of change. The chart below shows a glimpse of why these universities have improved in terms of faculty to student ratio and academic reputation, both of which have a high contribution to the global rankings (20% and 40% respectively). Another point to note is that I chose these 2 factors because they are malleable (able to be manipulated through PR, publicity, hiring more faculty staff).

Although I colour-coded the text to correspond to the graph, it was still confusing to many.

The right column also seems to draw attention away from the main gist of the article as it has bold colours and large type. The removal of it was suggested during tutorial, and the text between graphs to be shifted below so that the correlation between graphs can be easily seen.

ALAS, after experimenting with different visualisations, I decided to go for the safer one – Time against Rank with colour-coded Institutions. Even after so long, I still think Tableau sucks as you have to learn how that crappy algorithm plots your crap together instead of being a WYSIWYG.

Sheet 1 Dashboard_1 (1)

Interactive version: 

As you can see from the images above, I finally got my hands on the datavis output I intended to show. Therefore, after some assemblage in Illustrator (o m g vectoring is a waste of time imho) this should be my final piece!

Semi-Final Draft

Semi-Final Draft

Andddd….. Presenting my final piece.


To sum it up:

  • Number of institutions from 800+ to 125 to 9 to 3 featured
  • Flashy headline
  • Focuses on universities with an upward trend

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